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Italy declared a day of national mourning and started carrying out search-and-rescue operations near Libyan waters.

Shortly afterward, a group of survivors in Lampedusa attacked a man whom they recognized from the boat, claiming that he had been the driver and that he was affiliated with smugglers in Libya.

As Alexander Stille writes in “Excellent Cadavers,” from 1995, the only way to prove that you weren’t colluding with the Mafia was to be killed by it.

In 1980, after it was leaked that Gaetano Costa, the chief prosecutor of Palermo, had signed fifty-five arrest warrants, he was gunned down in the street by the Cosa Nostra.

In the hall, undercover cops with pistols tucked beneath their T-shirts waited to escort prosecutors wherever they went.

Sicilian prosecutors are granted tremendous powers, which stem from their reputation as the only thing standing between society and the Cosa Nostra.

Prosecutors were now allowed to wiretap anyone suspected of having connections to organized crime.

In response, a small group of magistrates formed an anti-Mafia pool; each member agreed to put his name on every prosecutorial order, so that none could be singled out for assassination.Beginning in the late nineteen-seventies, the Sicilian Mafia waged a vicious war against the Italian state.Its adherents assassinated journalists, prosecutors, judges, police officers, and politicians, and terrorized their colleagues into submission.Fifty-seven days later, mobsters killed one of the remaining members of the anti-Mafia pool, Falcone’s friend and investigative partner Paolo Borsellino.Following these murders, the Italian military dispatched seven thousand troops to Sicily.

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